Archivists at the American Institute for Verdi Studies discovered a document that sheds new light on Verdi’s activity just prior to the composition of his final opera, Falstaff.
A letter from the publisher Giulio Ricordi dated 22 August 1890 congratulates Verdi on the successful launching of a new business devoted to the sale of pork prepared at the composer’s Sant’Agata farm.
Ricordi, having purchased a “G.V. brand” pork shoulder, reports that he found the bill “a bit salty”, but for such exquisite meat he would pay “neither a lira more nor a lira less”.
This according to “New Verdi document discovered” by Martin Chusid (Verdi newsletter XX  p. 23). (The information in this article, delicious as it is, appears to be outdated; see the comment below.)
Today is Verdi’s 200th birthday! Below, in Falstaff’s finale, the opera’s characters prepare to dine together—no doubt anticipating the composer’s own homegrown prosciutto.
Related article: Verdi’s gastromusicology
3 Responses to Verdi’s pigs
This was actually a prank played by Ricordi on Verdi. Verdi sent the music publisher a shoulder of pork as a present and when the publisher asked him how much it was, Verdi, jokingly, replied quoting an exorbitant sum, 100,000 liras (“salty” means “expensive” – Ricordi uses the term as a play on words here). After tasting the pork shoulder with his family, Ricordi wrote a letter of thanks and enclosed a “receipt” he had printed in his own printing house. There was no factory at Sant’Agata!
Thank you! We have updated the post accordingly.
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